For Sunday Mass the Poor Clares of Cincinnati joined (via livestreaming) Fr. Jeff Scheeler and all the friars at The Church of the Transfiguration in Southfield, Michigan.
(We asked friars to describe how their lives and ministries have changed since the coronavirus outbreak.)
Jim Bok, OFM
Like the rest of the world, we are seriously impacted by the coronavirus pandemic. The bishops of Jamaica have mandated that all Masses and services be stopped until further notice. It seems that there will be no Holy Week services and no Easter service. This is so strange. I never thought that, while in good health, I would not celebrate Holy Week and Easter! Like everyone else we are to stay away from big crowds, greet with elbows and wash our hands a lot. And, of course, we must continue to pray. We just started live-streaming our Sunday Masses at Mary, Gate of Heaven church on our Facebook page at 10 AM Eastern time (no Daylight Savings)
Here is the link: https://www.facebook.com/MaryGateOfHeavenChurchNegrilJamaica/
Tourism here has taken a huge hit! The beach is empty, and tourists are departing by the plane loads. Many people here in Negril and the surrounding areas will be hurting big time as layoffs continue. We will do what we can as this unfolds.
I am blessed to love the beach and am certainly isolated when over there. At the grocery store the other day I was talking to a hotelier. After expressing our woes she pointed at me and said, “On the positive side, you are the victim of enforced rest.” Well, there is something to be said about that for the moment.
Loren Connell, OFM
My grandmother died in the influenza pandemic of 1918. That is a historical fact, which I have always known but which never held much meaning for me.
Two years ago, on its 100th anniversary, more than one television program or magazine article explored the pandemic in depth. Because of the family connection I watched or read with interest, but again it did not mean much to me. Today’s pandemic has made me very much aware of my own mortality.
I do not know whether or not I will contract the corona virus. If I do, I do not know whether or not I will die from it. I do recognize the reality that I could die from it. That recognition hits home. I am cautious but not afraid. For the first time in my life I am experiencing a connection with the grandmother I never knew. Whether now or next month or 10 years from now, I look forward to being united with Anna Frances Driscoll Connell in the life to come.
Carl Langenderfer, OFM
We at Holy Family Parish in Oldenburg recorded the Mass for the Fourth Sunday of Lent so it could be uploaded to our parish Facebook site for our parishioners to view yesterday at 5:30 p.m., our usual Saturday vigil Mass time. Our bulletin editor and technology person, Toni Cummings, and her son Chase did the recording and uploading.
Fr. Bob Weakley and Fr. Joe Nelson concelebrated with me. I’ve never celebrated Mass on video or TV before, so it was my maiden voyage, as it were. I was a little nervous, not used to seeing myself on video camera, so perhaps I need to work on my presentation. It is our attempt to have Mass available for our parishioners to pray along with, since they can’t come to church these days because of the coronavirus restrictions. We friars are celebrating daily Mass upstairs in our rec room, around our table, and praying for our parishioners and their intentions.
Here is the link to our Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/HolyFamilyChurch.Oldenburg.IN/
Vince Delorenzo, OFM
St. Anthony Shrine, Cincinnati
Here at the Shrine the chapel is open daily from 9 a.m. until 5 p.m. for private prayer. We have had people stopping in. The outside candle shrine continues to be a place that folks stop by day and night to light a candle and say a prayer.
This past week we received requests online and the mail through the FriarWorks Office to light 183 candles. As I light the candles I say a Hail Mary for the intention of the donors. The electronic Prayer Request Monitor has had many prayer requests regarding the coronavirus pandemic. The friars keep these requests in their prayers.
To light a candle or leave a pray request at the Shrine visit: https://www.stanthony.org
Fred Link, OFM
St. Clement Church, Cincinnati
According to Fred, “More than 2,400 people watched our Saturday Mass,” 90 seeing it livestreamed and the rest tuning in later. “That’s more than come to church.”
Starting tomorrow (Wednesday) at 11 a.m., “We’re doing weekday five-minute reflections,” also livestreamed from St. Clement. Reflections are in English on Monday, Wednesday and Friday, and in Spanish Tuesday and Thursday.
The reflections can be found on our Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/stclementcincinnati/
And “It will also be uploaded to Youtube”; check www.stclementcincinnati.org
Bert Heise, OFM
St. Margaret Hall, Cincinnati
This nursing home is as safe as safe can be for the four of us friars and everyone else. If the virus sneaks in, the home is set up to contain it in one section. The whole place is locked down, of course. The second and third floors are separated from each other and from the first floor. You can’t go back and forth.
On the second and third floors all of the residents are kept to their rooms and eat all three meals there. (Jack Wintz and Miles Pfalzer are next to each other on the second floor.) We first-floor residents have a choice of eating in our rooms or going down to the dining room to eat at different tables, separated from the others.
I am in my room almost all of the day except for the meals. A real blessing is that Carl Hawver and I attend Mass in the Chapel every day! The priests and sisters who are invited to the Mass stay a distance apart from each other. One of the sisters goes up into the sanctuary and brings us Communion. Otherwise, Carl remains on the third floor all day. He has tea, the crackers he loves, his pepper shaker and peanut butter! Jack and Miles have to keep to their rooms. This is something I am sure is a trial for Jack, but he is able to take phone calls. Miles is taken care of in regard to his daily chocolate.
The activities department is still doing its job, running the bingo with lower numbers and the people all separated. People can come to the front door and office and leave items for us. You might not think so, but I am as busy as can be every day! The Lord has been very good to Miles, Jack, Carl and myself. May he keep all of us safe from the virus.
Tom Speier, OFM
At Holy Name Parish where I minister, we have parishioners keeping the church doors open from 12-1 p.m. daily so people can come in to share time with their Lord. This gives them a chance to pour out their love, or their grief – for themselves or others. No organized group prayer. Just individual adoration before the Blessed Sacrament.